The City of Hinesville is considering the creation of a flea market ordinance. The discussion came up during the March 4, City Council meeting when the Mayor and Council approved rezoning property at 747 E.G Miles Parkway from Commercial 2 to Commercial 3.
The owner, Alan A. White is looking to run Negril Caribbean Cuisine restaurant in the existing commercial structure on the property as well as run the existing mini-storage facility currently on-site at the back of the lot.
But White also wants to run an open-air flea market and needed to be rezoned to C-3 to be able to do so.
Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission Director Jeff Ricketson said there are other business that have expressed interest in running a flea market or open-air markets within the City, but City doesn’t currently have operational guidelines for flea markets. He said after having some discussions with City Manager Kenneth Howard they plan to bring first draft guidelines before the Council at their next regular meeting on March 18. One of the considerations they plan to place in the guidelines is they only be open during daytime hours on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Howard said they plan to bring Mr. White, the owners of Rustic Designs and the owners of any other business that is interested into the discussion as they formulate the regulations, to gather their input.
The owners of Rustic Designs met with Howard and City Officials after a recent incident at their place of business.
Shelby Lee, co-owner of Rustic Designs, said police were called to her business on Feb. 20, while she was hosting an outdoor sidewalk sale within her property. Lee said police ordered her to move the event indoors or shut it down. She said she called the City prior to the event to inquire on whether she needed special permits and she was told no as her property is already zoned C-3. She also limited the event to less than 50 people at a time and followed CDC guidelines for COVID-19.
She said she didn’t understand why she was forced to close the sale yet another business, just down the road, was allowed to keep their sidewalk sale open. She said her vendors didn’t feel safe moving the sale indoors due to COVID, so many folded up and left and she cancelled the following day’s event.
Lee attended the meeting and spoke during the public hearing. Lee said she was interested to see how the ordinance will work so she can continue to conduct business in the City.
“Something like this could help us a lot,” she said. Lee said they would gladly offer input but said if things don’t improve, they are considering moving their business outside of City limits.
Howard said they did find an ordinance from 1986 that was comprehensive and could be used to develop the City’s formal guidelines.
“We are going to start there, and we will present a draft for your consideration,” he said. “And I think that will comprehensively address the concerns we have with different markets in the City of Hinesville.”
The Courier will continue to follow this story as it develops.
During the meeting the Council also approved the preliminary plat for the development of 49-lots, single family subdivision on Rutledge Drive. They awarded Brasco International the contract to construct 10 new bus shelter for $85,750. The funds will come from the Liberty Transit CARS ACT funding.
At the end of the meeting Howard gave an update on COVID-19 in the County. He said as of Monday educators and school staff will be able to get their COVID-19 vaccine. It will also extend to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their caregivers and parents of children with complex medical conditions.
Howard said the Coastal Georgia Public Health District, which provides services to residents of Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn and Liberty counties, continues to offer the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccinations are provided by the Liberty County Health Department located at 1113 E. Oglethorpe Highway. Appointments can be made online at gachd.org/vaccine. Individuals must be eligible to receive a vaccination. The Georgia Department of Public Health, Coastal Georgia Health District, continues to work with entities like Publix, Kroger and CVS to bring additional COIVD-19 vaccination locations online.